In this digital age, consumers are more empowered today through the use of technology and social media. Companies are starting to implement social media strategies for call centers in order to keep up with today’s market and authentically connect with customers.
The customer’s social media experience is just as important as the telephone experience. While there are some challenges involved in delivering large-scale customer service in an unstructured, public and emotional channel, here are 7 ways that social media can be used to promote your call center operations.
1. Listen to your customers
Through social media, customers are publicly sharing their experiences, incidents, problems, criticisms and praises with friends, family, colleagues and basically anyone who is willing to listen. The trick is to be the organization that is listening more than anyone else.
There is a lot more noise to cut through when listening to customers in the social media realm. Invest in a social media monitoring / interaction applications to help find relevant conversations you should be tuning in to.
2. Bond with your customers
By intelligently listening to customers, you can engage the community and steer online conversations regarding your brand. Start conversations with customers, provide support, create hashtags around your company and increase positive mentions of your call center.
Ask your contact center staff to inject personality into their responses (and humor when appropriate) to convey feelings via social media and create connections with customers. It’s important to bond with your online community. The more customers feel they are interacting with a friend, the better.
3. Encourage positive buzz and soften negative comments
Social media is becoming a dominant force in customer buzz. It is important to interact directly with customers who need help or have questions.
Social media can serve as a platform for damage control. Have agents publicly respond to criticism. As much as you may want to ignore or delete negative comments, never skip out on an opportunity to foster a better relationship with your customer. You never know, you may win that customer back, as loyal as ever.
4. Change the way you do business with your customers
More businesses are incorporating CRM (customer relationship management) into their social media strategy. Log all online interactions in a customer database. If the same customer contacts your center in the future, any representative that communicates with them will have access to history of his past interactions with the company. This can help foster a personal relationship with the customer and increase customer loyalty.
CRM is vital to a call center social media plan. Not only does customer data uncover solid sales leads and cater to specific consumer needs, it can also pinpoint broader trends and collect insight on improving existing products and services.
5. Create a seamless brand presence across platforms
A uniform and high-value experience for customers across all channels is essential in promoting your call center. Establish the same sets of guidelines such as, which agents / departments are responsible for which category of posts, and how will the posts be prioritized. Ensure that what customers are told on the phone is the same as what is expressed in social media exchanges by putting cross-functional systems in place.
The voice and tone used for social media posts should reflect your call center’s brand and values. Regardless of whether you are dealing with a customer’s issue or announcing a new product, the overall tone should be consistent.
6. Invite customers to e-mail or call when appropriate
While social media can supplement customer service efforts, it can’t replace traditional contact center channels, such as the telephone. Can an agent really solve a complex issue on Twitter in 140 characters or less?
Advise your customer support team to use social media sites like Twitter as a venue to reassure the customer that they have been heard. When an issue addressed via social media is too complicated or involves a fuming customer, it’s best to handle the problem offline. Use social websites to inform the customer of protocols and invite them to a phone call when appropriate.
7. Develop sound processes
Don’t assume that a customer service representative with years of call center experience under their belt will know how to properly use social media channels. Invest in proper training and teach agents how to best respond by implementing a system to ensure quality service. Have a supervisor quality monitor a random sample of social media exchanges periodically and provide your agents with feedback.
Set expectations and performance metrics right off the bat so your agents know what is to be expected of them. Inform them of the routine tasks, such as how to prioritize responses for social media posts and how quickly a post should be answered. This is especially important for teams with heavy workloads.
Put these 7 tips into practice at your contact center and see how your customer service team can experience raving social media reviews.
Guest Blogger: Daphne Lefran
Daphne has been writing about business and customer service topics for many years and currently writes on behalf of the call center software specialists at Kova Corp. In her spare time, she enjoys capturing moments through a lens; traveling to new and far away places and playing with her 3 lb. dog named Nolan. Follow her on Twitter @daphnelefran